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Ripple Effect: The impact one life left behind at AFOTEC

  • Published
  • By Katherine C. Gandara, AFOTEC Public Affairs
  • Air Force Operational Test and Evaluation Center

On June 3 the Air Force Operational Test and Evaluation Center dedicated the Grant D. Schaber Conference Room at its headquarters. The Air Force Memorialization Program recognizes military and civilian members who have provided outstanding service to their country.

AFOTEC has supported this program by dedicating conference rooms to AFOTEC members with records of outstanding and honorable service and who have made lasting contributions to the organization’s mission of operational test and evaluation.

“It was with this in mind that the Schaber Conference Room was selected for dedication because it is Grant Schaber’s enduring leadership that paved the way for AFOTEC to meet the many challenges of the 21st century,” said Maj. Gen. James R. Sears Jr., AFOTEC Commander.

Grant Schaber started his Air Force career in 1980 as a communication, navigation, and electronic countermeasures systems technician. Throughout his 21 year active duty career he served in various positions including specialist expediter, flight line expediter, operations group quality assurance senior avionics inspector, and later as chief inspector. He was assigned to AFOTEC in July 1994 as a logistics manager and bomber systems and logistics operations superintendent. In 1999, he was assigned to Kunsan AB, Korea but returned to AFOTEC in 2000 before retiring from active duty in 2001. After his retirement, he worked as a civilian contractor until he rejoined the Air Force and AFOTEC as a federal civilian in 2005 as the technical advisor for the Operations Directorate. In 2007, he became the Deputy Director of Operations. He died in January 2021 after a long battle with cancer.

“Throughout his time with AFOTEC, Grant shared his knowledge and experience in an organization whose primary mission is to ensure today’s warfighter receives the very best,” said Sears. “Grant led early test design and development and taught several generations of testers how to execute operational test with methodical and repeatable processes that our sister services have adopted. Test professionals across the entire DOD sought out Grant Schaber for counsel. He personally advised every Center commander, detachment commander, director, and countless AFOTEC test directors and program managers over the past 20 plus years.”

“When my sister Holly first broke the news to our family about the conference room being  dedicated in my dad’s name, it brought much solace for all of us, said Joshua Schaber, Grant’s son. “As a family, we were still mourning his loss, so this news came at a very important time for everyone. The Schaber Conference Room means my dad will be immortalized in the halls of AFOTEC forever, commemorating the very successful career that he had and always keeping his spirit alive.”

“We knew what kind of man my dad was but to hear his accomplishments and how he touched and impacted so many is uplifting,” said Holly Griego, Grant’s daughter. “I think I can speak for my family that we hold our heads high with pride. The ceremony showed what he meant to the AFOTEC family and the Air Force as a friend and mentor. He took deep pride in his work and was loved and respected by many. We know he never worked as hard as he did to be honored, but only to ensure what he did was for the right reasons and ensuring he made a difference.”

“The dedication ceremony meant so much to me and my children,” said Christina Schaber, Grant’s wife. “We were honored and truly blessed to be a part of this special day. My husband will be missed, yet always honored and never forgotten. He loved knowing he would help make a difference for the Air Force and the country he loved and fought for.”

On January 12, 2021, AFOTEC’s world stood still with the news of Grant Schaber’s death. The mark Grant Schaber made on the Air Force, AFOTEC, and every family member and friend endures. Just as when a stone is dropped into a lake, it quickly disappears from sight, but its impact leaves behind a series of ripples that broaden and reach across the water. In the same way, the impact of Grant Schaber’s life leaves behind an influence for good that continues to touch an organization and every person that knew him. The dedication of the Schaber Conference Room is just one part of that ripple effect.